Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/11/1997 09:09 AM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
      SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE                     
                         April 11, 1997                                        
                           9:09 a.m.                                           
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
 Senator Gary Wilken, Chairman                                                 
 Senator Loren Leman, Vice Chairman                                            
 Senator Lyda Green                                                            
 Senator Jerry Ward                                                            
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Senator Johnny Ellis                                                          
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 102                                                           
 "An Act relating to the eligibility of aliens for state public                
 assistance and medical assistance programs affected by federal                
 welfare reform legislation; and providing for an effective date."             
                                                                               
  - MOVED SB 102 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                              
                                                                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 147(HES) am                                             
 "An Act relating to the expenses of housing nonresident charter               
 school students; relating to authorizing charter school programs to           
 provide domiciliary and other services to nonresident charter                 
 school students; relating to duties of the state Board of                     
 Education; and relating to the establishment of state boarding                
 schools."                                                                     
                                                                               
  - MOVED CSHB 147(HES) am OUT OF COMMITTEE                                    
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 134                                                           
 "An Act relating to home schooling for elementary and secondary               
 students."                                                                    
                                                                               
  - MOVED CSSB 134(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                       
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 17                                                            
 "An Act creating the crime of criminal transmission of human                  
 immunodeficiency virus (HIV)."                                                
                                                                               
  - MOVED SB 17 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                               
                                                                               
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
 SB 102 - See Senate Health, Education & Social Services minutes               
          dated 3/12/97.                                                       
 HB 147 - No previous Senate action to record.                                 
                                                                               
 SB 134 - No previous Senate action to record.                                 
                                                                               
 SB 17 - No previous Senate action to record.                                  
                                                                               
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 Representative Con Bunde                                                      
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of CSHB 147(HES) am.                     
                                                                               
 John Cyr, President                                                           
 NEA-AK                                                                        
 114 Second Street                                                             
 Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Discussed concerns with CSHB 147(HES) am.              
                                                                               
 Barbara Kangas                                                                
 PO Box 7635                                                                   
 Kenai, Alaska 99611                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Expressed concern with the financing.                  
                                                                               
 Senator Leman                                                                 
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of SB 134.                               
                                                                               
 Rachael Moreland, Staff                                                       
 Senator Leman                                                                 
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Discussed CSSB 134(HES).                               
                                                                               
 Mary Trimble, President                                                       
 Eagle River Chugiak Home School Association                                   
 19510 Third Street                                                            
 Eagle River, Alaska 99477                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on CSSB 134(HES).                            
                                                                               
 Julie Chase                                                                   
 Valley Home Educators                                                         
 851 W. Sheldon Road #3                                                        
 Wasilla, Alaska 99654                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Appreciated CSSB 134(HES).                             
                                                                               
 Jamie Cox, Home Schooler                                                      
 Fairbanks, Alaska                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 134.                                      
                                                                               
 Ruth Ewig, Home Schooler                                                      
 Fairbanks, Alaska                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 134 and SB 17.                            
                                                                               
 Sharon Smith                                                                  
 Fairbanks, Alaska                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Thanked the sponsors for SB 134 and supported          
                      SB 17.                                                   
                                                                               
 Lisa Sites, Home Schooler                                                     
 Fairbanks, Alaska                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Encouraged support of SB 134 and supported             
                      SB 17.                                                   
                                                                               
 Sharylee Zachary, Home Schooler                                               
 PO Box 1531                                                                   
 Petersburg, Alaska 99833                                                      
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Believed SB 134 would help clarify home                
                      schooling.                                               
                                                                               
 Barbara Njaa, Home Schooler                                                   
 PO Box 8042                                                                   
 Nikiski, Alaska 99635                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Favored SB 134.                                        
                                                                               
 Debbi Palm, Home Schooler                                                     
 HC1 Box 956                                                                   
 Kenai, Alaska 99611                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported CSSB 134(HES).                               
                                                                               
 Mary & Dean Nichols, Home Schoolers                                           
 205 Birch Street                                                              
 Kenai, Alaska 99611                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Encouraged passage of SB 134.                          
                                                                               
 Joanne Hardesty, Home Schooler                                                
 HC01 Box 835                                                                  
 Kenai, Alaska 99611                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Encouraged the passage of anything favorable           
                      to home schooling.                                       
                                                                               
 Gregory Reeser, Home Schooler                                                 
 44120 McLean Court                                                            
 Soldotna, Alaska 99669                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported CSSB 134(HES).                               
                                                                               
 Claudia Walton                                                                
 PO Box 221166                                                                 
 Anchorage, Alaska 99522                                                       
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Asked questions.                                       
                                                                               
 Nancy Buell, Director                                                         
 Division of Teaching & Learning Support                                       
 Department of Education                                                       
 810 W 10th                                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska                                                                
  POSITION STATEMENT:   The department supported the clarification of          
                      home schooling.                                          
                                                                               
 Tom Gordy, Associate Pastor                                                   
 Christian Coalition of Juneau                                                 
 PO Box 34832                                                                  
 Juneau, Alaska 99803                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Urged passage of SB 134.                               
                                                                               
 Jack Phelps, Vice President                                                   
 Alaska Private & Home Educators Association                                   
 PO Box 23267                                                                  
 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901                                                       
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 134.                                      
                                                                               
 Joe Ambrose, Staff                                                            
 Senator Taylor                                                                
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Discussed SB 17.                                       
                                                                               
 Theda Pittman                                                                 
 Alaska Civil Liberties Union                                                  
 PO Box 201844                                                                 
 Anchorage, Alaska 99520                                                       
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 17.                                         
                                                                               
 Dr. John Middaugh, Chief                                                      
 Section of Epidemiology                                                       
 Department of Health & Social Services                                        
 PO Box 240249                                                                 
 Anchorage, Alaska 99524-0249                                                  
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 17.                                         
                                                                               
 Andrea Nenzel, Executive Director                                             
 Alaska Native Assistance Association                                          
 1057 Fireweed Lane                                                            
 Anchorage, Alaska 99503                                                       
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 17.                                         
                                                                               
 Bonnie McCorquodale, Executive Director                                       
 Interior AIDS Association                                                     
 Fairbanks, Alaska                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Urged the rejection of SB 17.                          
                                                                               
 Carey Cummings                                                                
 Interior AIDS Association of Fairbanks                                        
 Fairbanks, Alaska                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 17.                                         
                                                                               
 Andy Binkley                                                                  
 Community Outreach                                                            
 Interior AIDS Association                                                     
 Fairbanks, Alaska                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 17.                                         
                                                                               
 Barbara Brink                                                                 
 Alaska Public Defenders                                                       
 900 W. 5th Avenue, #700                                                       
 Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                       
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Discussed concerns with SB 17.                         
                                                                               
 Anne Carpeneti, Assistant Attorney General                                    
 Criminal Division                                                             
 Department of Law                                                             
 PO Box 110300                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed to SB 17.                                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
  TAPE 97-38, SIDE A                                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
             SB 102 ALIENS AND ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS                            
                                                                              
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN WILKEN  called the Senate Health, Education & Social                
 Services Committee (HES) to order at 9:09 a.m. and introduced                 
 SB 102  as the first order of business.  Chairman Wilken noted that           
 Senate Finance would like to have SB 102 as part of the overall               
 welfare reform as well as the budget.  Chairman Wilken said that he           
 would entertain a motion to move SB 102 out of committee.                     
                                                                               
  SENATOR LEMAN  moved to report SB 102 out of committee with                  
 individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.  Without            
 objection, it was so ordered.                                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
         HB 147 STATE BOARDING SCHOOLS/CHARTER SCHOOLS                        
                                                                              
  CHAIRMAN WILKEN  announced that  CSHB 147(HES) am  was the next order        
 of business before the committee.                                             
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE , Prime Sponsor, informed the committee             
 that Mt. Edgecombe is Alaska's only authorized boarding school                
 which has earned an excellent academic reputation.  Representative            
 Bunde explained that CSHB 147(HES) am proposes to increase                    
 opportunities for state boarding schools in order to increase the             
 quality of education, especially in rural Alaska.  The boarding               
 function of the boarding schools under this bill would not be                 
 funded by the state.  He had heard from some communities, rural               
 centers, that are interested in a boarding school program.  There             
 are a number of small schools in rural Alaska and as the foundation           
 formulas move forward, the small schools will be encouraged to                
 consolidate.  The option of a boarding school should be available.            
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN WILKEN  noted that the Superintendent of Galena had visited         
 him and discussed the facility there.   REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE                  
 explained that the entire Air Force facility located in Galena is             
 being kept in warm storage.  The entire capital investment would be           
 available for a school program.  Representative Bunde noted that              
 the Air Force is paying the water and sewage.  Also a contractor              
 with some 40 employees provides food service which would also be              
 available to the students.  Of course, Galena would like some                 
 additional state money to begin, but Representative Bunde believed            
 that there are other sources.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 135                                                                    
                                                                               
  JOHN CYR , President of NEA-AK, was concerned with the finances.  If         
 school districts decide to build boarding schools in rural Alaska,            
 that is an expensive proposition.  Someone will have to pay for the           
 boarding of those students.  Mr. Cyr stated that financing boarding           
 schools are too expensive unless the money is taken from regular              
 programs.  Mr. Cyr suggested that this bill is similar to an                  
 unfunded non-mandate.                                                         
                                                                               
 Mr. Cyr also expressed concern with a statewide program being                 
 administered by a local school district.  Currently, statewide                
 programs such as Mt. Edgecombe are administered by the state, under           
 the department and the State School Board.  Mr. Cyr believed that             
 process to be appropriate because the program is offered to all               
 children of Alaska not just those in a local district.  As written,           
 CSHB 147(HES) am does not have a provision for that.  Mr. Cyr                 
 expressed the need for state oversight in these programs.                     
                                                                               
 With regard to the concern over the lack of state oversight,                  
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE  explained that if a boarding school were to be         
 a charter school, that must be approved by the local school                   
 district and the state school board.  In that event, there would be           
 a level of state approval.                                                    
                                                                               
  BARBARA KANGAS , testifying from Kenai, was concerned with the               
 language in Section 1 stating, "may not be paid for with state                
 money but may be paid for with funds contributed by sources other             
 than the state."  Ms. Kangas informed the committee that her local            
 school budget was cut by $2.2 million.  The Kenai has a number of             
 charter schools on line for next year.  Ms. Kangas did not                    
 understand how funding for another program could be mandated when             
 current programs cannot be funded.                                            
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE  said that CSHB 147(HES) am was permissive and          
 did not mandate anything.                                                     
                                                                               
  SENATOR WARD  noted that Galena has 180 days evacuation procedure.           
 Senator Ward hoped that Galena would become a vocational training             
 program for the rural Native population.  Senator Ward identified             
 the regional corporations and the Bureau of Indian Affairs for                
 Native students which would offset some of the costs as in                    
 Wildwood.  Senator Ward believed that this was an excellent concept           
 and such should be provided as options for the local districts.               
                                                                               
  SENATOR WARD  moved to report CSHB 147(HES) am out of committee with         
 individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.  Without            
 objection, it was so ordered.                                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
            SB 134 HOME SCHOOLING EDUCATION PROGRAM                           
                                                                              
 Number 233                                                                    
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN WILKEN  announced that  SB 134  was the next order of               
 business before the committee.                                                
                                                                               
  SENATOR LEMAN , Prime Sponsor, informed the committee that this              
 legislation was brought to his attention by those involved in home            
 schooling in Alaska.  SB 134 provides an exemption in the section             
 regarding compulsory attendance.                                              
                                                                               
  RACHAEL MORELAND , Staff to Senator Leman, informed the committee            
 that there was a blank CS if the committee would like to adopt it             
 for discussion purposes.                                                      
                                                                               
  SENATOR GREEN  moved to adopt CSSB 134(HES).  Without objection, it          
 was so ordered.                                                               
                                                                               
  RACHAEL MORELAND  read the following into the record:                        
                                                                               
 Senate Bill 134 adds a paragraph to the compulsory attendance                 
 policy (AS 14.30.010(b)), providing an exemption for children                 
 schooled at home by a parent or guardian.  The original bill                  
 required students be instructed in:  reading, spelling,                       
 mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and               
 English grammar.  The new CS on the table deletes that language.              
                                                                               
 Currently, are no specific provisions in Alaska Statutes pertaining           
 to home schooled students.  There are several ways current home               
 schoolers comply with the law.  Home schoolers in technical                   
 compliance are now required to follow provisions for Private and              
 Exempt Schools (AS 14.45.100-130), or they may participate in a               
 government-sponsored course (AS 14.45.010(b)(11)).  Neither                   
 provision was designed with home schoolers in mind.  SB 134                   
 codifies current practice by many home schoolers.                             
                                                                               
 Families in which children are home schooled are numerous                     
 throughout the state and their numbers are growing quickly.  It is            
 time we acknowledge them by law.  SB 134 recognizes the important             
 contribution home schooling parents and students make to our state.           
                                                                               
  SENATOR LEMAN  asked how many students in Alaska are being home              
 schooled.   RACHAEL MORELAND  pointed out that there is no one roster         
 for home schooled students.  There are various home schooling                 
 organizations throughout Alaska.  Mr. Phelps could provide an idea            
 of the numbers of home schooled students in Alaska.  In further               
 response to Senator Leman, Ms. Moreland noted that the committee              
 packet includes information, a national survey from the Home School           
 Legal Defense Association whose findings are reflected in Alaska.             
 Ms. Moreland informed the committee of a recent reading competition           
 in which many correspondence students won those competitions.  Ms.            
 Moreland informed the committee that she was home schooled, private           
 schooled, public schooled, and co-op schooled.  Ms. Moreland said             
 that her home school experience was the highlight of her education            
 besides her college experience.  Home schooling allowed Ms.                   
 Moreland to graduate from high school earlier.                                
                                                                               
 Number 326                                                                    
                                                                               
  MARY TRIMBLE , President of Eagle River Chugiak Home School                  
 Association, informed the committee that she also answered the                
 phones for Alaska Private and Home Educators Association.  Ms.                
 Trimble taught in public schools for six years and have home                  
 schooled for eight years.  Ms. Trimble appreciated last year's home           
 school resolution and CSSB 134(HES) is the next step.                         
                                                                               
  JULIE CHASE , representing Valley Home Educators, appreciated CSSB           
 134(HES).                                                                     
                                                                               
  JAMIE COX , testifying from Fairbanks, supported SB 134 and                  
 encouraged its passage.  Ms. Cox said that home schooling parents             
 are committed and dedicated and involved in their children's lives.           
 Furthermore, Ms. Cox suspected that home schooled students would              
 score above public schooled students.  Home schooled students tend            
 to be polite and respectful.                                                  
                                                                               
  RUTH EWIG , testifying from Fairbanks, supported SB 134 because the          
 state should recognize a successful educational alternative such as           
 home schooling.  Ms. Ewig stated that home schoolers believe in               
 their God given mandate to train children into good, responsible,             
 critically thinking adults.  Home schoolers favor a traditional               
 approach stressing academic subjects as specified in the bill.  The           
 180 day public school requirement does not fit a home schoolers               
 routine which varies.  Further, home schoolers consider a subject             
 complete when all the subject matter is completed, not by the                 
 number of days spent on the subject.  Ms. Ewig stated that home               
 schooling is successful locally and nationwide while public                   
 schooling continues to decline.                                               
                                                                               
  SHARON SMITH , testifying from Fairbanks, thanked those responsible          
 for SB 134.  She said that there are many reasons why people choose           
 to home school their children.  Ms. Smith was concerned with                  
 education and believed that every day was an education.                       
                                                                               
  LISA SITES , Leader of the Interior Home School Association and past         
 Leader of the North Slope Support Group, informed the committee               
 that when her family began home schooling she believed that home              
 schooling could offer her children the best education available.              
 Six years later and three children later and Ms. Sites is even more           
 convinced of that belief.  Ms. Sites noted that not every home                
 schooler is registered through the state, but last year                       
 approximately 1,900 home schooled students were in the Fairbanks              
 North Star Borough.  Home schooling is a viable alternative.  It is           
 estimated that there are about 1.2 million home schoolers across              
 the nation and most home schoolers score well above average.  Ms.             
 Sites reiterated comments regarding the scheduling of home                    
 schoolers.  Ms. Sites encouraged the support of SB 134.                       
                                                                               
 In response to Senator Leman, Ms. Sites clarified that the 1,900              
 home schoolers refers only to the Fairbanks North Star Borough.               
 The number was derived from those listed with the Department of               
 Education in Juneau as private and religious schools as well as the           
 correspondence figures for the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the           
 Alyeska Central School.  That number was relevant only up to                  
 January 1996.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 456                                                                    
                                                                               
  SHARYLEE ZACHARY  informed the committee that she would be faxing            
 her and her husband's written testimony.  Petersburg has about 45             
 home schooled children, although Ms. Zachary suspected that the               
 surrounding islands also had home schooled children.  Ms. Zachary             
 said that her children are home schooled because there are certain            
 things that are no longer taught in public schools that Ms. Zachary           
 desired her children to learn.  Furthermore, teachers have their              
 hands full.  Ms. Zachary indicated that her choice to home school             
 her children helps alleviate the burden of the public school                  
 teacher.  Children were learning to be callous and defensive.  Ms.            
 Zachary wanted to raise her children as part of the healing of the            
 nation not as part of the problem.                                            
                                                                               
 Ms. Zachary informed the committee that the Petersburg public                 
 school does not allow home schoolers to participate in some of its            
 activities and services.  Ms. Zachary was told that home schooled             
 students were not allowed to check out books from the public school           
 library nor can the home schooled students read material in the               
 public school library.  Ms. Zachary pointed out that her tax                  
 dollars helped purchase such items, yet her children are not                  
 allowed to utilize them.  After being informed that this was                  
 policy, Ms. Zachary contacted the school district and was told that           
 there are no policies for home schoolers.  On the other hand, two             
 home schooled boys were allowed to wrestler for the public school.            
 This is confusing.  Ms. Zachary said that chemistry and foreign               
 language labs, even if charged a fee, would be easier to utilize in           
 the public school.  SB 134 would clarify the position of home                 
 schoolers.                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR LEMAN  was troubled by Ms. Zachary's experience and noted            
 that similar situations have been experienced in the Anchorage                
 School District.  Representative Dyson has introduced legislation             
 to deal with that situation.  Most school districts do cooperate              
 with home and private schooling parents.  Senator Leman pointed out           
 that when home schooled or private schooled students participate in           
 the public school system, the foundation formula compensates for              
 that.  Senator Leman recommended that Ms. Zachary share her                   
 experiences with Representative Dyson.  All students in the state             
 should have access to library materials and special courses.                  
                                                                               
 SHARYLEE ZACHARY  stressed that she was not present to fight the              
 public schools, but wanted to aid in the best education of all                
 children in Alaska.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 530                                                                    
                                                                               
  BARBARA NJAA , testifying from Kenai, informed the committee that            
 she was a certified teacher with Alaska and that she home schooled            
 her son for 10.5 years.  There are a number of home schoolers in              
 the area who are in favor of the exemption for home schoolers in              
 SB 134.  Ms. Njaa's son entered the local high school as a Junior             
 and has not had any problems.  Ms. Njaa noted that she enjoyed home           
 schooling due to her son and other home schooled children who are             
 able to relate to their peers as well as adults.  Ms. Njaa has been           
 a home school supervisor for a local private school which afforded            
 her the opportunity to meet parents who home school with whom she             
 was impressed.                                                                
                                                                               
  DEBBI PALM , a Home Schooling parent in Nikiski, noted that she too          
 was a certified teacher who taught in the public schools and worked           
 with the correspondence program.  Ms. Palm supported SB 134; it is            
 a viable option.                                                              
                                                                               
  MARY NICHOLS , Home Schooling mother, said that she was in favor of          
 SB 134 and the amendment included in the CS which would strike the            
 language dealing with an organized educational program.  Ms.                  
 Nichols did, with the original language, see the potential for a              
 bureaucrat to verify compliance with the requirements and could               
 lead to further interference.  Ms. Nichols believed that parents              
 are capable of determining the curriculum of their children without           
 any regulations.  The home schooling families that Ms. Nichols knew           
 were very committed.  Ms. Nichols discussed the high scores of her            
 home schooled children.  Ms. Nichols encouraged passage of the                
 bill.                                                                         
                                                                               
  DEAN NICHOLS , Home Schooling father, informed the committee that he         
 also represented the First Baptist Church of Kenai which has                  
 several home schooling families.  With regard to the concern                  
 surrounding socialization of home schooled students, home schooled            
 children are some of the most well adjusted and respectful                    
 children.                                                                     
                                                                               
  JOANNE HARDESTY , Home Schooler, said that she had been home                 
 schooling for about six years.  Ms. Hardesty noted that her                   
 children had taken the SAT twice and scored high.  The first year             
 Ms. Hardesty home schooled, Ms. Njaa provided oversight on a                  
 monthly basis.  Ms. Hardesty encouraged the passage of anything               
 favorable to home schooling.                                                  
                                                                               
  TAPE 97-38, SIDE B                                                           
                                                                               
  GREGORY REESER , Home Schooler, supported SB 134 as well as the              
 language deletion encompassed in the CS.  This bill will elevate              
 home schooling from a policy level to legal protection under the              
 law.  This bill will clarify the relationship home schoolers have             
 with the Department of Education, the public school, and parents.             
                                                                               
  SENATOR WARD  concurred with the elimination of the language that            
 could allow the bureaucrats to become involved in home schooling.             
 Senator Ward noted that he had received all the letters and                   
 information forwarded to him on this issue.  He applauded the                 
 efforts of those to better the community.                                     
                                                                               
  SENATOR LEMAN  applauded the Administration's cooperation in this            
 effort.  Senator Leman noted that the fiscal note from the                    
 Department of Education says that the department does not intend to           
 regulate home schoolers.                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 563                                                                    
                                                                               
  CLAUDIA WALTON  inquired as to the changes encompassed in the CS.            
  SENATOR LEMAN  explained that the last two lines of the bill were            
 deleted.  The language "and is receiving an organized educational             
 program that includes reading, spelling, mathematics, science,                
 history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar" were               
 deleted.   CLAUDIA WALTON  inquired as to the definition of "home"            
 and indicated that "home" be defined in a broad context meaning in            
 the custody of the parents.  Anything that can secure this                    
 educational opportunity is beneficial.   SENATOR LEMAN  interpreted           
 "home" not to just refer to the domicile, but rather the home unit.           
                                                                               
  NANCY BUELL , Director of the Division of Teaching & Learning                
 Support, stated that the Department of Education supports                     
 clarifying and helping parents who choose to school their children.           
 Ms. Buell noted the unpleasant position of being in "limbo" with              
 regard to the distinction between home school and public schooled             
 children.  With regard to the language that has been deleted in the           
 CS, the department believes that all children should learn basic              
 skills and anything to that effect in the bill would be supported             
 by the department.  Ms. Buell reiterated that the department does             
 not intend to regulate home schoolers in any way and noted that               
 many districts provide support for home schooling parents, even in            
 the form of home school coordinators.  The department believes that           
 to be an appropriate use of the money following the child.                    
                                                                               
 Number 505                                                                    
                                                                               
 In response to Senator Ward, Ms. Buell was not aware of any policy            
 that would prohibit a home schooled student from utilizing a public           
 school library.  She reiterated that many districts provide the               
 option for home schooled students to take part in specialized                 
 classes and such.  In terms of practice, Ms. Buell could not say              
 what actually occurs.  If there is a concern, the home schooling              
 parents should bring that before the local school board.  In                  
 response to Chairman Wilken, Ms. Buell agreed that the CS would not           
 change the fiscal note; the fiscal note would remain zero.                    
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN WILKEN  inquired as to how the progress of home schooled            
 students is measured.   NANCY BUELL  said that the department is not          
 measuring the progress of home schooled students.  If home                    
 schoolers register as a private school, progress is recorded and              
 measured by tests.  When registered as a private school, the home             
 schooler is given exempt status which allows the student to keep              
 the school records.  If home schooling is an exemption to the                 
 compulsory schooling law, there would be no way to know the home              
 schooled student's progress.  In further response to Chairman                 
 Wilken, Ms. Buell said that a child can be home schooled for                  
 his/her entire education, but will not receive a diploma.                     
                                                                               
  TOM GORDY , Christian Coalition in Juneau, informed the committee            
 that he was an Associate Pastor to a local church which has many              
 home schoolers.                                                               
 Mr. Gordy identified the following advantages to home schooling:              
                                                                               
  The one to one student teacher ratio allows for quicker                      
  learning.                                                                    
  The home schooled student can learn at his/her own pace.                     
  Parents can monitor and choose the curriculum and its content.               
  Constant monitoring of the student's progress can occur.                     
  Alleviates concerns/problems from negative peer pressure.                    
 Mr. Gordy stated that home schooling should be held in the same               
 regard as public or private education.  Mr. Gordy urged the passage           
 of this measure with full recommendations.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 427                                                                    
                                                                               
  JACK PHELPS , Vice President of the Alaska Private & Home Educators          
 Association (APHEA), explained that APHEA is a nonprofit education            
 cooperation serving the home school community in Alaska.                      
 Currently, APHEA has a membership of 450 home schooling families              
 throughout Alaska.  Mr. Phelps referred to Robert Neismith's book             
 entitled Megatrends which mentions home schooling as part of                
 society's trend towards decentralization and increased personal               
 responsibility.  Estimates report that 2.5 million American                   
 children are being educated by their parents.  Home taught children           
 are widely recognized as well educated and socially adjusted people           
 and are now sought by many of the best colleges and universities.             
 Mr. Phelps pointed out that Michigan and Arizona have codified the            
 role of home schools in the range of educational options.  SB 134             
 is patterned after the law passed in Michigan last year.  Mr.                 
 Phelps noted that the Legislature passed SCR 24 last year without             
 a dissenting vote which placed the Legislature on record as                   
 asserting the importance of home schooling in Alaska.  The APHEA              
 Board of Directors supports SB 134.  Alaska parents who teach their           
 children at home contribute to Alaska's society by preparing                  
 children for the full range of work force opportunities at no cost            
 to the state.  Mr. Phelps noted that he submitted written                     
 testimony.  SB 134 is good public policy.                                     
                                                                               
 In response to Chairman Wilken,  Mr. Phelps informed the committee            
 that he home taught four children all the way through high school.            
 Mr. Phelps named his home school and issued a diploma.  The Home              
 School Legal Defense Association offers a diploma that parents can            
 fill out.  With regards to that being an impediment to further                
 progress in education or the work force, that has not occurred in             
 his situation.  Mr. Phelps pointed out that three of his children             
 attended college.  When his son applied to Hillsdale, there was not           
 a problem.  Hillsdale requested that his son take the college                 
 entrance exam and that a list of subjects and textbooks that his              
 son studied be supplied.                                                      
                                                                               
  SENATOR LEMAN  commented that he had not home schooled his children,         
 but was impressed with the commencement exercise he attended for              
 APHEA a few years ago.  The commencement included a subject                   
 demonstration from K-12.                                                      
                                                                               
  SENATOR LEMAN  moved to report CSSB 134(HES) out of committee with           
 individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.  Without            
 objection, it was so ordered.                                                 
                                                                               
 The committee took a brief at ease from 10:19 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.              
                                                                               
              SB  17 CRIMINAL TRANSMISSION OF HIV                             
                                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 346                                                                    
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN WILKEN  introduced  SB 17  as the last order of business            
 before the committee.                                                         
                                                                               
  JOE AMBROSE , Staff to Senator Taylor, read the following Sponsor            
 Statement into the record:                                                    
                                                                               
 Senate Bill 17 was introduced with the goal of putting Alaska in a            
 pro-active position when it comes to dealing with individuals who             
 knowingly place others at risk of HIV infection.  SB 17 is intended           
 to be preventative as well as punitive and is intended to render a            
 criminal rather than moral judgement.                                         
                                                                               
 As of December 31, 1996, 369 Alaskans had been confirmed to have              
 AIDS.  That's since tracking began in 1982.  Of these cases, 194              
 are known to have died.                                                       
                                                                               
 The Epidemiology section of the Division of Public Health reports             
 that as of December 31, 1996, 640 Alaskans had tested positive for            
 HIV infection.  That number represents only those who have                    
 voluntarily tested through the State Section of Laboratories.                 
                                                                               
 The statistics show that HIV/AIDS affects both male and female,               
 across all age groups and without respect to race or residence.               
 The sad fact is that the rate or infection in Alaska is increasing.           
                                                                               
 If someone intentionally sets out to kill another person by                   
 infecting them with the AIDS virus, they can be charged under state           
 law with attempted first degree murder.  But, what do we do with              
 the person who does not "intend" to kill, but who still places                
 others in jeopardy?  In 1990, the Attorney General's office                   
 reviewed that question and suggested that ...quote..."it might be             
 possible to prosecute the person for reckless endangerment"... end            
 quote.                                                                        
                                                                               
 That is a class A misdemeanor prohibiting reckless conduct which              
 create a "substantial risk of serious physical injury".                       
                                                                               
 Most people would equate becoming infected with HIV as something              
 more than a "serious injury".                                                 
                                                                               
 Twenty seven other states have seen fit to adopt specific laws                
 dealing with criminal penalties for knowingly transmitting or                 
 exposing another to HIV infection.  It would only be prudent for              
 Alaska to have such a statute on the books.                                   
                                                                               
 SB 17 is brief and to the point.  It creates the crime of criminal            
 transmission of HIV and covers actions and conduct known to                   
 transmit the disease.                                                         
                                                                               
 The bill also provides an affirmative defense when the person                 
 exposed knows beforehand that the action could result in infection.           
 The bill also provides a provision excluding perinatal transmission           
 of the virus and to assure that an individual is not prosecuted for           
 an involuntary act.                                                           
                                                                               
 SB 17 is not intended to punish those who have contracted HIV.  It            
 is intended to protect others who may be unknowingly exposed to the           
 virus by what should be a criminal act of irresponsibility.                   
                                                                               
 Mr. Ambrose informed the committee that in drafting SB 17, the                
 Illinois statute was used almost verbatim which was adopted in                
 1989.  He noted that the Illinois statute was included in the                 
 committee packet as well as a summary of the laws passed in other             
 states.  The committee packet also includes two court rulings on              
 the Illinois law.  On April 6, 1994 the Illinois Supreme Court held           
 that the statute did not violate state or federal constitutional              
 protections for free speech or for free association and was not               
 unconstitutionally vague.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 287                                                                    
                                                                               
 With regard to the impact on HIV testing in Illinois, the Illinois            
 Department of Health reported that after the law was on the books             
 for six years, testing for HIV/AIDS had increased not decreased.              
 This year the Illinois Department of Health reported a decrease in            
 public testing which was attributed to the increased availability             
 of testing in the private sector as well as home testing.  The                
 Alaska Department of Health reported that the majority of cases               
 resulted in consensual conduct.  Mr. Ambrose asked if consent would           
 have been given if the facts were known first.  SB 17 merely places           
 the responsibility on the infected person to advise the other                 
 person involved.                                                              
                                                                               
  THEDA PITTMAN , Alaska Civil Liberties Union, said that ACLU opposed         
 SB 17 on constitutional grounds and the bill would undermine the              
 efforts of the public health system.  HIV transmission is a public            
 health problem not a criminal problem.  Anyone with a transmittable           
 disease should understand how to avoid infecting others and utilize           
 the appropriate precautions.  In the rare instances when an                   
 individual recklessly or intentionally transmits HIV, Alaska law              
 already provides the opportunity for prosecution.  Therefore, this            
 language will not add to the prosecutor's tools, but will likely              
 decrease voluntary testing and the education management which                 
 typically accompanies testing and notification.  Ms. Pittman                  
 pointed out that on page 2, lines 11-13 and lines 1-5 raise due               
 process concerns regarding whether the state is providing adequate            
 notice to prohibited behavior.  The language on lines 1-5 regarding           
 the affirmative defense shifts the burden of proof to the defendant           
 as well as suggesting that the defense must seek information about            
 the person allegedly exposed that would otherwise be confidential.            
 Ms. Pittman stated that it made little sense to add a new law when            
 the current law contains adequate provisions.  Ms. Pittman urged              
 the committee's opposition to SB 17.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 241                                                                    
                                                                               
  DR. JOHN MIDDAUGH , Chief of the Section of Epidemiology in DHSS,            
 opposed SB 17.  The existing laws enable criminal prosecution and             
 punishment of egregious behaviors of intentional transmission of              
 HIV.  Passage of SB 17 will discourage testing and participation in           
 efforts to identify those who have potentially been exposed.                  
 Public health has had experience over many decades that illustrate            
 that criminalization of infections harms the public health efforts            
 to control disease transmission.  Diseases such as Hepatitis B,               
 Hepatitis C, the Herpes virus are more likely to be transmitted in            
 the conducts associated with the transmission of HIV.  Dr. Middaugh           
 was also concerned about the definition of "intimate contact" which           
 is so broad and could extend to many common activities that pose no           
 risk for disease transmission of HIV or other pathogens.  Sports,             
 health care, EMT activity, etc. could fall under the definition of            
 "intimate contact".                                                           
                                                                               
 Dr. Middaugh pointed out that the title of SB 17 reads, "An act               
 creating the crime of criminal transmission of human                          
 immunodeficiency virus (HIV)" yet the bill has provisions that show           
 that transmission is not required for criminalization of a                    
 potential exposure.  Exposure is only when a person has contact               
 with the virus regardless of whether the virus actually infects               
 another person.  In most exposures to HIV, no transmission or                 
 infection of the exposed person occurs.  Dr. Middaugh emphasized              
 that the department is concerned about HIV and the department's               
 efforts are aimed at the prevention of transmission and spread of             
 the disease.  SB 17 will harm preventive and public health efforts            
 and therefore, Dr. Middaugh requested that SB 17 not be passed.               
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN WILKEN  noted the presence of Anne Carpeneti, Department of         
 Law, and Barbara Brink, Alaska Public Defenders.                              
                                                                               
  ANDREA NENZEL , Executive Director of the Alaska Native Assistance           
 Association, explained that the Alaska Native Assistance                      
 Association is a private nonprofit group which provides direct                
 services to persons living with HIV infection and provides                    
 education and behavior changes for the prevention of HIV infection.           
 The Alaska Native Assistance Association Board and Agency are                 
 adamantly opposed to SB 17.  SB 17 will deter efforts to prevent              
 further HIV infection in Alaska by discouraging testing while                 
 promoting further ignorance and discrimination.  Testing and                  
 appropriate counseling and care regarding responsible behavior to             
 prevent transmission is the most effective way to reduce HIV                  
 transmission.  Ms. Nenzel reiterated that the existing law provides           
 adequate means to prosecute and punish anyone who intentionally or            
 recklessly transmits HIV.  SB 17 will open the door to numerous               
 suits and the bill is fraught with potential for abuse by unhappy             
 partners or people with grudges.  Ms. Nenzel echoed the comments              
 regarding the shift of the burden of proof of innocence on the                
 accused person.  Ms. Nenzel urged the committee to vote against               
 SB 17.                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 164                                                                    
                                                                               
  BONNIE MCCORQUODALE , Executive Director of the Interior AIDS                
 Association, urged the committee to reject SB 17 and any other                
 effort to criminalize HIV transmission.  Ms. McCorquodale has                 
 worked in the HIV prevention field for almost 10 years.  The                  
 prevention of the spread of HIV is a public health issue not a                
 issue that can or should be addressed by the criminal justice                 
 system.  Sound public health policy encourages testing,                       
 notification of partners, treatment, and knowledge about the                  
 protection of others.  SB 17 will discourage testing and other                
 potential life-saving services.  HIV is preventable and persons can           
 protect against it.  SB 17 only holds a portion of the population             
 responsible.  Ms. McCorquodale informed the committee that the                
 Secretary of Health & Social Services and the National Institutes             
 of Health confirmed that syringe exchange programs reduce the                 
 spread of HIV.  The language in the bill which makes the exchange             
 of nonsterile equipment a crime may work against one of the most              
 effective methods for reducing HIV in Alaska.  Ms. McCorquodale               
 emphasized that SB 17 is discriminatory and creates a criminal                
 class based on health status and would set prevention efforts back            
 years.                                                                        
                                                                               
  CAREY CUMMINGS , Interior AIDS Association of Alaska, opposed SB 17.         
 Ms. Cummings said that effective public policy encourages people to           
 make healthy individual choices and does not prohibit, limit, or              
 prosecute on the basis of biological behavior.  SB 17 is not                  
 prevention.  By criminalizing the exchange of nonsterile                      
 intravenous drug use equipment, those people utilizing such                   
 programs could be prosecutable.  Such criminalization would                   
 increase the nonsterile intravenous needles on the street as well             
 as increasing the likelihood of the transmission of the virus.  Ms.           
 Cummings encouraged the committee to reject SB 17 because of its              
 discriminatory nature.                                                        
                                                                               
  ANDY BINKLEY,  Community Outreach Worker with the Interior AIDS              
 Association, opposed SB 17 because it treats HIV transmission                 
 different from other diseases which could be just as life                     
 threatening.  Mr. Binkley opposed the intravenous drug                        
 paraphernalia language which seems headed in the wrong direction.             
                                                                               
  BARBARA BRINK,  Director, Alaska Public Defender Agency, was                 
 concerned with using criminal laws to promote public health instead           
 of using testing, education, and behavior modification.  Ms. Brink            
 assured the committee that Alaska laws are already sufficiently               
 available to prosecute any person who either intentionally or                 
 recklessly transmits the HIV virus.  She disagreed with the 1980              
 assessment that one can only be charged with reckless endangerment.           
 The Alaska assault statutes vary with regard to what one can be               
 charged with based both on the person's state of mind, whether the            
 action was intentional, reckless, or negligent, and on the result             
 of that conduct.  Reading from the assault in the first degree                
 statute, Ms. Brink clarified that a person commits assault if the             
 person knowingly engages in conduct that results in serious                   
 physical injury to another under circumstances manifesting extreme            
 indifference to the value of human life.  Someone who engages in              
 that type of behavior can be prosecuted for assault in the first              
 degree - or assault in the second degree, if a person recklessly              
 causes serious physical injury to another person.  The Alaska                 
 Criminal Code is based on the Oregon Criminal Code which recently             
 was successful in prosecuting someone when the person engaged in              
 such intentional behavior.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 045                                                                    
                                                                               
 Ms. Brink expressed concern with how broadly the statue is drafted.           
 The broad definition of "intimate contact" makes unlawful not only            
 unsafe sex, but safe sex.  There is no provision for reasonable               
 prophylactic measures - something education efforts have been                 
 trying to encourage.  A person playing basketball, for instance,              
 who incurs a bleeding wound could be charged unless he/she could              
 prove that he/she informed everyone of his/her HIV positive status            
 and that the people willingly assumed that risk.  The meaning of              
 reasonable efforts to inform medical personnel is unclear.  Given             
 universal precautions, this seems an unnecessary addition.  With              
 regard to the nonsterile paraphernalia provision, needle exchange             
 programs have been proven to be very effective.  Alaska has been              
 chosen to receive a national grant to study the effect which she              
 believed would come to a halt because people would be liable for              
 turning in used and nonsterile needles.                                       
                                                                               
 Ms. Brink was concerned with the shifting of the presumption of               
 innocence.  Normally going to trial with a criminal charge, one is            
 presumed to be innocent, but in this case to prove that the person            
 knowingly engaged in that conduct is an impossible task.                      
                                                                               
  TAPE 97-39, SIDE A                                                           
                                                                               
 Ms. Brink said that the American Bar Association has considered               
 using criminal laws to try to curb the transmission of HIV and                
 actively adopted a resolution to discourage that.  A program of               
 public education about HIV should be implemented as the most                  
 effective method of deterring behavior which poses a high risk of             
 transmitting HIV.                                                             
                                                                               
  SENATOR LEMAN  pointed out the definition for "intimate contact" on          
 page 2.  He believed at basketball games it was policy to identify            
 those players who are carrying HIV which would be covered in the              
 subparagraph about intimate contact.   BARBARA BRINK  agreed that in          
 such organizations and circumstances as the NBA, precautions have             
 been taken, but "any contact" is so broad  and would not be limited           
 to the NBA or NCAA.  What if there was a car accident, more than              
 one person was injured, there's bodily fluids, and the people in              
 the car the person has been riding with have not been notified.  It           
 is not limited to only sexual contact.   SENATOR LEMAN  doubted that          
 anyone voluntarily engaging in intimate contact would be in a car             
 accident.                                                                     
                                                                               
  RUTH EWIG  strongly supported SB 17 because the person who had               
 irresponsibly spread the deadly disease to another was held                   
 accountable.  Ms. Ewig informed the committee of a newspaper                  
 article about a person who called an ambulance for a friend.  The             
 caller withheld the information about the friend's AIDS infection             
 and mouth to mouth was performed by the ambulance attendant on the            
 AIDS infected person.                                                         
                                                                               
  SHARON SMITH  testified in favor of SB 17 because it makes a person          
 accountable for spreading a deadly disease.  Testing for HIV should           
 be mandatory.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 127                                                                    
                                                                               
  LISA SITES  testified in favor of SB 17.  There is so much                   
 information available on social issues, but it is not really                  
 working.  Ms. Sites believed that our society has laws to protect             
 people when others do not take personal responsibility.                       
                                                                               
  ANNE CARPENETTI,  Department of Law, reiterated the department's             
 opposition to SB 17.  The Administration does not take the position           
 that HIV is not a serious disease nor a serious problem.  The                 
 Administration has compassion for the people who are suffering from           
 the disease.  The Administration believes that the best way to deal           
 with HIV is through a public health effort.  Our criminal laws do             
 cover the conduct in question.                                                
                                                                               
  SENATOR WARD  moved to pass SB 17 out of committee with individual           
 recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.  There were no             
 objections and it was so ordered.                                             
  CHAIRMAN WILKEN  adjourned the meeting at 10:55 a.m.                         
                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects